Gamecock Defense Remains Strong, Brown Goes Down
JACKSONVILLE — No Gamecock could find the end zone in Jacksonville State’s third scrimmage of the spring due in large part to the defense.
However, it was junior punter Hamish MacInnis’ touchdown-saving tackle on junior wide receiver Telvin Brown that overshadowed yet another dominant defensive performance.
MacInnis delivered a hit to Brown’s legs while he was returning a punt near the home sideline.It was a hit Brown never got up from. He remained down on the field for several minutes before being taken off on a stretcher.
He was placed in an ambulance and taken to a local hospital. There is no confirmation on the severity of the injury. However, sources say Brown suffered a fractured left femur.
“You just don’t know. I can’t comment on the magnitude of the injury,” first year head coach John Grass said. “He’s definitely done for the spring. We’ll just have to see how things go with him. That was the biggest negative of the day with me.”
While he was being treated on the field, Brown was connected to an IV. Grass said that was done to relieve some of the “pain of the injury.” Losing Brown delivered a major blow to the Gamecock offense. Of the three touchdowns they have score in scrimmages this spring, Brown was responsible for two of them.
“That says it all right there,” redshirt-sophomore quarterback Eli Jenkins said. “(Brown) has had two touchdowns out of the three we’ve had so far. That says that he’s a key player for us. Someone is going to have to step up and fill those shoes. It’s hard losing him.”
Jenkins enjoyed a little more freedom today than he has had all spring. Usually the play is blown dead once he leaves the pocket. Today he was allowed to run down field and create plays with his legs as he did so many times last year. Granter, the play was still blown dead before contact was made. He still managed to gash the defense on runs of 22 and 15 yards before the whistle was blown.
“It felt pretty good,” Jenkins said. “They let me run a little bit at practice. Unless I’m doing too much they really won’t tell me to stop.– just be smart. I got out the pocket a couple of times, ran for a couple of yards and just got out-of-bounds. I’m just being smart, trying to protect my knee. I feel real good.”
Redshirt-junior quarterback Christian LeMay showed his ability to create with his legs as well. He ran through the defense on runs of 12 and 11 yards. Mobility has proven to be an asset for quarterbacks in Grass’ offense.
“That’s the reason LeMay fits into what we’re doing,” Grass said. “When you run you can change the game offensively. It puts pressure on defense. It’s harder to play man coverage when you’ve got a guy back there in the pocket who can run. Even when it’s not designed runs, when things just break down, you’ve seen both of them make runs and pick up first downs. It changes the game for sure.”
The defense forced the several of those undesigned runs. The front seven combined for eight sacks on the day. That’s something redshirt-sophomore corner back Jaylen Hill said makes his job “real easy.”
“When they do their job, it makes our job a whole lot easier,” Hill said.
The defense only forced one turnover during the scrimmage. That’s three shy of what defensive coordinator David Blackwell asks for every practice. Even so, he was particularly in a good mood after practice.
“He was still in a good mood,” Hill said, who managed the only interception of the day. “He said ‘we went 100 plays and gave up three points’ He’ll take that any day. But, we still need to work on stopping the run and containing the quarterbacks.”
The Gamecocks return to practice for the final week of spring training Tuesday morning. They will practice again Thursday before the J-Day Game on Saturday at 6 p.m.